What I think gets missed in the Caster Semenya controversy

No one doubts that Olympic athletes are genetic outliers and that the greatest Olympic champions are outliers among outliers. Well, I thought that everyone got it until I read stuff like this.

Here is the issue, as I see it: the men’s category is unrestricted; as far as I know, one doesn’t have to do a genetic test to compete in it. The women’s category IS a restricted category because men have genetic advantages in the major sports. Really..otherwise why have a women’s division.

And the issue here really is: does Semenya qualify *as a female* for the purposes of athletics? To me, that is really it. And no, I am not qualified to determine what criteria should be used.

Of course there are genetic outliers within the “female category” but ..does Semenya fall in that said category? Or is it more fair to vie Semenya as a “so-so but hardly world class” open category athlete.

Valpo 5, Bradley 2

I have to give Valpo credit: on a pretty day for baseball, Valpo got its runners in (hits, then ground balls to drive in runs) and..in the 6’th inning after an intentional walk, laid down a perfect squeeze bunt that was good enough to drive in a run and bring the first baseman off of the bag. So after 6 it was 5-2. And twice, BU stranded 3 runners.

Vickie showed up with her sister and relative, whose nephew was catching for Valpo.

It ended 5-2.

I walked to and from Dozer; (about 1.5 miles each way) it was good way to loosen up after the 5K. Coming back, some partying students waved at me.

Run to Remember 2019

For the first time in 3 years, I did this race. 2 years ago I had a graduation to go to and last year I was just coming off of an heel injury. Stormy weather had drove me inside this week for 6.4 mile runs on the Riverplex track and that actually had me feeling fresh for this race..much to my surprise.

I picked up Tracy, got there and warmed up for a couple of miles..and got to talk to some runners.
Facts: 27:12 (8:31. 8:30, 9:16 (uphill), 0:54 for 27:12 (fastest since July 2016); I wilted on the final uphill sections and got passed several times..and yes, Pat O got me there too.
I really didn’t feel that bad at the start and tried to keep something resembling a run; I tried to keep the wheels turning. The out and back portion saw me see several friends. But on that last uphill; I did have the “umpf” to give a bit more. I really think I could have gotten those final 13-15 seconds with a better effort.

The race does feature a good spread afterward. One thing though: they start with a ceremony (it is to honor police officers killed in the line of duty) and while it is a touching, moving ceremony, it does mean that you start at about 8:15 instead of the billed 8 am, so plan your warm up accordingly. And this remains one of my favorite races, both for the race and the cause.

Past Run to Remember results (final mile IS uphill, but I need to get tougher than this)

2019: 27:17 8:31, 8:30, 9:16 (26:18) 0:54 place: 67/273, 49/143 men, 3 of 9 AG.
2016 26:04 8:11, 8:30, 8:30 (25:12) 0:52 place 25 of 177, 20 of 102 men 4 0f 8 AG
2015: 26:59 8:10, 8:24, 9:31 (26:05) 0:52 place: 74 of 303, 58 of 172 men, 4 of 8 AG
2014: 24:17 7:37, 7:37, 8:11 (23:26), 0:50 place: 35 of 343, 30 of 187, 7 of 13
2012: 24:34 7:54, 7:45 8:04 (23:44), 0:50 place: 66 of 272

Day: 47, rainy, windy. Tells you what you need to know. Nevertheless, Tracy was a trooper and didn’t back out, so we went and I managed about 2 miles or warm up. My legs: felt surprisingly good.
The race: it was smaller than usual and I was surprised to be as close to the front as I was. Then I remembered that the winning time was a time that I had run in the (distant) past. So I got to see first hand how much I’ve slowed.

Nevertheless, I felt ok upon finishing, given that it was a 5K. I did run reasonably hard and did ok, given the win and the rain. I took the first mile in 8:11 (downhill) and held on to finish in 26:04, which was about 14 seconds slower than what I had hoped for on a good day.

I cooled down by going back for Tracy and walking her in. It was good to do a race with her again.

I had thought about trying to compete with Steve, but he is just way to good for me right now; he was exiting the turn around circle as I was entering. I did chase a couple of younger women and got both; a couple of younger guys got me on the last uphill and a couple of kids sprinted past me at the finish.

Tracy got 3’rd in her age group.

Cassie was a few seconds behind me but won her age group; I sort of wish she had set a 25:45 pace 🙂

I hope that the rain clears off for tonight’s Bradley Baseball game.


The day was picture perfect but I showed up to the race fatigued, though my legs felt ok when I woke up. But something is going on; during the last mile I just jogged and walked; it was as if I had full body fatigue.
Ironically, this was my best race of 2012 and 2014, and so far, my worst of 2015.

During the last mile (somewhat uphill) I basically gave up and walked and jogged. There were some well built guys that I wanted to stay with but couldn’t. No endurance…not this kind anyway.

I think that I am missing the “tempo” workout; those sustained 5-6 mile runs at 9-10 minutes per mile that I have done in the past but quit doing as of late.

Barbara walked 1 mile and Tracy also went with us. Socially, I enjoyed it. It was fun to talk to Debbie, Cassie and Mike.


Weather: cool (50), breezy. Course: out and back with a loop; slightly downhill out (with the wind); uphill and against the wind on the way back (note the splits).

I went with Tracy to this race.
Upon warming up, I felt MUCH better than I did last week; backing off a bit seemed to help. Many of my usual “targets” (runners I race) were at a different race, but I saw Jerry Kolb (very tall) and made it a “stretch goal” to beat him and a “stretch goal” to crack 24. I accomplished neither. Still, finishing 35 out of 343 isn’t that bad, and only 5 women beat me (only 4 if you count “chip times”). And this was my fastest 5K since August 22, 2009 (almost 5 years ago!)

We went out and I made an effort to hold back. You do down some small, rolling hills so I wasn’t surprised to find a faster than usual 1 mile split. I just tried to maintain and keep Jerry in sight (he is very tall). Then came the out and back part on Grandview. There were two older runners just burning it up. I like this stretch because you can see most of the field; I saw Tracy headed out.

At around mile 2 (another 7:37; level mile) I saw Jerry faltering a bit so I really made an effort. But now we were facing the wind and going back up the hill…paying for the help we got going out.
We were then side by side for about 1/4 of a mile; he got ahead, faltered and I caught him, then he got ahead again. A lady was with us as well. And I was feeling it too; I didn’t have the confidence to try to “red line it”; I knew that I’d have a decent time by “maintaining”. Still, I had something left.

That last little hill feels tough and when I got to mile 3, I did NOT sprint when I saw the clock hit 23:59. I lost three places in that last .1 of a mile; that shouldn’t happen.
Afterward, I went back for Tracy and got teased a bit by Cassie (and her cool socks). Oh yes, afterward I noticed Cassie tugging on her spandex shorts. 🙂

Tracy finished in just over 40 minutes.

We then enjoyed the good spread of food; Tracy had pizza where I had 1/2 of a bagel (quality bagel), a couple of small yogurts, a couple of bananas and an apple. Good food.
The cause: funds for families of law enforcement officers who were killed in action. Can’t think of a better cause.

I can recommend this race without reservation: well organized and a lovely course with just a few hills to keep you honest.

Future: this course is good for me (I ran my fastest 2012 race on it) so there is no guarantee I’ll get rid of those 18 seconds. I am going to have to work at it; perhaps add some 800 meter repeats.


The facts: time: 24:34 (7:55 mpm), splits: 7:54, 7:45 (15:39), 8:04 (23:44), 0:50. The finish was slightly net uphill, though the course was out and back. This was my fastest time since September 2009 and an improvement over my times earlier this year and a major improvement over last year’s time. Weather: perfect (62 F). Place: 5 in the Age Group, 66 of 272.

Total run: 2 mile warm up, 1 mile walk to cool down.

The event itself: I had thought about doing the Lake Run (the flagship event of the Bloomington-Normal Lake Runner’s club) and while that race (a 1/4 marathon or a 12 K) IS an excellent event, I chose this one because it was in town and it made it possible to make a 10 am political event in Peoria (I’ll talk about that in another post).

It turns out that The Run to Remember is a nice little race; I am planning on doing this one on a regular basis. It is a fund raiser for a group that supports the families of law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty so there is some ceremony (10-15 minutes worth). Hence I was glad that I took a longer warm up than normal (over 2 miles actually) and that I used the bathroom late. But the ceremony was fine and touching.

The course itself is an out and back through some beautiful little neighborhoods; it crosses Prospect on Grandview drive and does one of those park-like loops for an out an back. I’d call the course “gently rolling” with a few micro-hills (20-30 feet?) and it is all on what I call “soft pavement” (tarmac rather than concrete).

My race Though I was a bit alarmed at how heavy legged I felt during the first part of the warm up, I was feeling great toward the end of it (21-22 minutes of easy running). I knew that I’d do fine if I kept the early pace under control.

I lined up at about where I was to finish and we were off. I was a bit surprised that I got passed so much in the first 1/2 mile or so, but I was to see most of these people again. 🙂

I stayed steady and paid attention to effort; I was pleasantly surprised to be under 8 minutes (7:54) at mile 1 but that included some downhill. I gradually started to pick things up a minute or two later and found myself starting to move up. Then I saw the leaders on their way back; that is ALWAYS humbling. 🙂

I kept moving up and, after seeing many people on the way back (some I would see again!) I rounded the little parking traffic circle on Prospect. I got to yell for some ahead of me (e. g. Jim David, Kevin McGuire) and some behind me (e. g. Theresa Shultz, Shelia Hansen) which meant that I wasn’t running too hard. My yelling is, in part, an effort check.

I saw that I was at 12:xx and figured that I might FINALLY break 25 and so picked it up again.

Mile 2: 7:45 and I was rolling; now I started to look for people to race (and there were plenty). I aimed for a well built young man, a tall guy in a yellow shirt and a young woman in cropped spandex shorts; I was to finish ahead of none of them though I caught the lady only to be outkicked by her at the end and I got outkicked by the young man starting at about mile 3. But they kept me from getting too lazy.

The uphill mile slowed me a bit (8:04) and I knew that sub 25 was mine; I didn’t have the mental courage to attempt a sprint in the last .1 miles though. I have to practice that.

Injury update: early on, I felt just a small twinge in my non-operated knee (left) but paying attention to stride length helped that to go away.

Campaigns and sex appeal…

This Twitter post is interesting to me:

This isn’t the first time..not by any stretch:

So, can this only benefit men…and is it wrong to use it at all?

Well, one can consider my US Rep. Cheri Bustos who made a “50 most beautiful” list. She definitely exploits her athletic physique. Example: this is her FB profile:

This is one of her commercials:

And her Instagram account is full of photos which shows off her health and vitality (softball, running)

In my opinion, she’d be crazy to NOT exploit that. And while her photos are all in good taste, there is no separating health and vigor from sex appeal..which does lead to a favorable image.

So yes, female politicians can do this and still be viewed very positively. In 2016, she won reelection by 20 points in a district that went for Trump (barely..in 2012 Obama won it by 17).

A couple of baseball games

First things first: I got my own workouts in.
Thursday: after yoga (and I got into crow pose), thunderstorms drove me to the Riverplex track for 6.4 miles (7.5 laps to the mile): 1:33, 10:55, 10:46, 10:52, 10:51, 10:54. (1:05:52)
I felt a bit drained. Weight: 186

Friday: same weight; weights only: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, 1 of 5), bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, incline: 10 x 135, decline: 9 x 165, military: 3 sets of 10 x 45 standing (dumbbell), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine, then plank, knee stretches, etc. No squats today.

Last night, I caught the Chiefs’ thrilling 4-3 win over Dayton. The Chiefs lead 2-1 before an error on a throw to first lead to a score and a tie game. In the top of the 9’th, Dayton took a 3-2 lead, and the Chiefs were down to 1 out (no one on) in the bottom of the 9’th. But 3 singles lead to a score and a tie game. In the 10’th, the Chiefs held (ghost runner rules…free runner at 2n’d) and then in the bottom of the 10’th, a single drove in the runner (and Dayton protested that the runner didn’t cross the plate)

Today, after class, I picked up the Bradley vs. Valpo game: it was 2-1 which…well, ended up being the final score. The pitchers more or less dominated, though there was some nervousness when Bradley walked the bases loaded (2 on with 1 out, loaded with 2 outs) but the pitcher struck out the last batter.

Some of the action:


Leanhorse 2005 100 miler (encore post)

In 2005, I finished the Leanhorse 100 miler (walking 100 percent of the time) in 29:34. Note: I looked it up and a week later, I was jogging at 9:34 mpm for 5 miles..a pace that would be hard work for me.
Needless to say, I have slipped badly since then.

This was my report, as I posted on an old blog.


(at mile 20 or so)

This past weekend I did the Leanhorse 100 mile race in South Dakota. Since I am a walker, I walked 100 percent of this race. In short: my previous PR’s for the 100 mile walk were 23:40 (track, Cornbelt 24 hour 2004) and 34:16 trail (McNaughton 2005). This time I hit 50K in 7:42, 50 miles in 12:50, 85 miles in 23:59:50 (or I had an 85 mile 24 hour performance) and finished the race in 29:34. Four runners passed me between miles 98 and 98.5 and finished in my sight, and yet another finished about 30 seconds behind me. The cut-off was 30 hours.

My lessons: I made two major mistakes. The first mistake is that I forgot my trail gaiters (these are coverings that drape over your shoes to prevent rocks from getting into your shoes. Not only did I have to stop several times to take rocks out of my shoes, but the smaller, finer pieces of grit stayed in my socks and gave me huge heel blisters. My left heel was literally covered by one gigantic blister, and I had a tennis-ball size blister on the outside of my right heel.

The second major mistake is that I didn’t trim the spenco pad on my foot orthotic properly. Hence the spenco bunched up in the front of my shoes and continually pounded my small toes. Therefore I lost several nails (impacted) and my toes ended up being a bloody mess.

If there was any good to be had from this it was that my body held up well (i. e., I was properly trained and tapered) and my legs (aside from my feet) were not sore the day after.

So, though my finish time was lousy and my last 15 miles were truly pathetic, I found that I could overcome mistakes. Of course, part of this was due to the easy surface; in the last 40 miles I yelped every time my foot made an unplanned landing on a rock that was larger than a pebble. This reminded me a bit of the fairy tell about the Princess and the Pea.

This report is organized as follows:

Event Details

My Race

Lessons Learned

Social Report

Event Details

See the above chart; the surface was 98 miles of groomed crushed limestone trail, and 2 miles of sidewalk through a small town (mile 43.5 to 44.5 on the way out, and 55.5 to 56.5 on the way back). The photo shows the typical surface. There were several aid stations (12, which means that the 100 milers saw 24 aid stops) as well as 4 different drop bag points. The volunteers were outstanding!

Oddly enough, the relatively smaller uphills on the way back were more difficult than I anticipated. The last two inclines (roughly 5 miles in length) seemed to go on forever, though they weren’t all that steep.

The trail had markers every mile and we started at mile 16.2. The race director put Leanhorse signs every 5 miles (to account for the .2 mile discrepancy). We turned around at mile marker 66 (which was certified to be 50 miles from the start.)

The surface started off as pinkish, small pebble limestone gravel, and changed slightly as the course went on. There was a stretch where the surface was black, and yet another stretch that contained lots of glittering mica. This was downright eerie when one passed over it at night and was wearing a lamp; though perhaps the faster runners (or those doing the 50K or 50 mile) didn’t get to see this effect. There were some stretches where one could see the rose quartz rocks (the State Rock of South Dakota).

Some of the course, but not much, was shaded and the daytime temperatures got into the mid 80’s. The nighttime saw a full moon, clear starry skies, and a pleasant mid to high 50’s.

We were bussed from Hot Springs to the Mickleson Trail. The 50K types started 1.5 miles behind where the 50 and 100 mile people started. The trail was plenty wide enough to handle the crowd of 100-120 that started the 50 or the 100.

There were farm animals on the sides of the trail in some stretches. I also saw a couple of small snakes, chipmunks, a rabbit and a raccoon. There was also a mountain lion which I (fortunately?) did not see, though the runner ahead of me did.

In summary, this course was not a particularly slow course, but I didn’t think that it was easy either. Though it might seem as if the return leg for the 100 would be easy, those long, long (albeit gradual) inclines seemed to go on forever.

I fell into a very moderate pace and did some chatting. I talked to a runner from Georgia (who was to get away) and to Joe Galloway (who was to get me later). I noticed that the “push-off” motion of walking had a bit of slippage and that I was already getting rocks in the shoes! Still mile 5 came at 1:11. The next several miles were uneventful; I more or less just enjoyed the scenery and kept stopping to take the rocks out of my shoes. My previously sore knee gave me no trouble at all.

My first hint of trouble was at around mile 36; here my left heel felt “hot”. I stopped at this aid station, lubed my heel and decided to switch from my “ninja” socks to thicker trail socks; this helped to keep the rocks out of my shoes. But the extra thickness, plus the bunching up of the toe part of my spenco orthotic pad was to cause me grief later. It was at this spot where the first runners were on their way back!

I was starting to get a bit crankier and my aid station stops were slowing my pace, though my actual walking pace stayed at around the 15 minutes/mile range (9:20 min/km). I had survived the 1400 foot climb from the start was was taking advantage of the downhill. Also, I enjoyed seeing the Crazy Horse Monument and was catching up to some of the 50 mile runners who were burning out or getting sick.

Eventually, I saw the outskirts of Hill City and moved along the sidewalk. I welcomed the reprieve from the rocks and was grateful to have volunteers escort me across a sort of busy street. There, I rested a few minutes and got some moleskin from a 50 mile runner who had finished for my right heel. The moleskin worked, but a blister outside of the region formed!

The out and back (stiff uphill) was challenging, but I was on track to be under 13 hours at the half. I saw some other souls who were still out there and felt kind of sorry for them. I shouldn’t have, as 4 of them were to pass me much, much later.

On the way back I was told that there had been a mountain lion by the trail at about the time I passed by. I didn’t notice; I guess I stank too badly for it to find me appetizing!

It was starting to get dark now and I needed my headlights once I got out of Hill City. The lights seemed to do the job, but I had slowed. My five mile segment times (which included aid station stops) had climbed from the mid 1:20’s to the 1:30’s; still that was enough to get me under 28 hours if I could hold on. That was to be a big “if”.

Miles 55 to 75 were horrible; it took me 6:42 to do this stretch! I mentally broke during some of the long climbs and my feet were killing me. Tylnelol helped. I didn’t know how bad off my toes were; what hurt were mostly my heels. That lead me to make a more forefoot type landing instead of my usual “heel-toe”.

But, I began to get a bit more confident as I found myself arriving at aid stations just when Uli Kamm (an excellent ultrawalker) was leaving; evidently I wasn’t doing that poorly. And, the cool night air helped some. So 75 to 85 took me 3:01; normally slow but not that bad for that deep into a 100 mile event. And it felt good to reach 85 miles at just under 24 hours; that is my 3’rd best 24 hour performance.

Climbing up the hill to get to 85 in under 24 hours took something out of me; folks that I was chasing began to get away and I got very wobbly. I was having trouble keeping food down; I was out of the dried pineapple that sustained me for the first half of the race and was spitting up my cheese and crackers.

I got to the aid station at 88.2 and was completely whipped. I could barely stand and I gave some thought to dropping; but the aid station people encouraged me to stick with it!

So, after soup and fruit I got to mile 90 in 25:53; that last five miles took me 1:53 to do and would be my slowest 5 mile segment of the race.

The last part didn’t include much climbing and I picked up company for a short while at around 95 miles. The aid station person at mile 92 was also very kind and encouraging!!! I’d like to thank ALL of the aid station volunteers, and especially those at 88 and at 92. That sure helped a great deal.

My last 5 miles were in the “just get it over with” mode. Something funny happened when I got to mile 98. Joe Galloway caught me and passed me! We were minutes apart at McNaughton earlier this year, and were destined to be minutes apart yet again. Then with 1.8 miles to go, a string of 3 runners passed me, and every one of them was leaning over to their left!!!! It appeared as if they were mimicking each other! And, this other runner whom I kept leap-foregoing with was closing in on me.

Nevertheless, I kept walking for the finish line knowing that 30 minute miles would be enough and I made it. Was I ever happy that I could see the finish line when I did!

Lessons Learned

  1. Proper fitting footwear is essential. I need to trim my orthotic pads a month in advance to ensure proper fit.
  2. Trail gaiters are a must for me, given my low-to-the-ground walking style. Even small grit can lead to blisters
  3. Late in the race, I needed to keep up with the calories. I think that I had a small “bonk” at around mile 85. Dried, unsweetened fruit seems to work.
  4. Taping works; I got zero blisters on the arch/ball of my foot. Next time I need to tape my heels too.
  5. I can keep going even when I think that I can’t.
  6. My training seemed to prepare me well as my legs aren’t sore at all. Or perhaps they are really sore but I can’t feel them due to the fact that my feet are killing me (impacted toenails). But, for me on this course, 85 walking miles in 24 hours isn’t too bad (previous results were 101, 80 (track) and 88 (road 4000 meter loop course). Of course, the last 15 miles really stunk.


Socially, this trip was a success. First, I actually enjoyed the often scenic drive though South Dakota and enjoyed my very brief stay in Chamberlain, South Dakota (beautiful view of the Missouri River). Next, I met up with Mark and Janet and hung out with them. We socialized at packet pick-up, ate dinner together at the Flatiron, and got to meet CVRT’er Ron Pyle (who had a successful 50K debut run and then worked the race). I also saw others including Uli (who gave me a 29:30 race schedule) and Joe.

The next morning, I met Mark and Janet and rode the bus with Janet (Mark was shipped to a different starting point for his first ever 50K, which he did in a respectable 7:30). I teased Janet a bit, but didn’t see her much after the race started. She was to win her age group with a 10:02 50 mile! (I had predicted a 10:00 for her, and, alas, a 28:00 for me).

After the race, I got a ride back to the race headquarters, picked up my buckle and drop bags and went to get a shower, some footcare and some sleep. Later, I had dinner with Mark and Janet who both got to tell me about their races.

The next day, I went with Janet and Mark to the mineral water pool (87 F) which felt great. Later I ate breakfast with some of the other runners (who finished in times from 19 hours to my 29:34) and got to meet someone who really congratulated me (named Eddie). Little did I know that Eddie was once a 2:3X marathon runner! It is amazing how humble and friendly some of the really good runners can be.

Cars and questions

Workout notes: weights only; rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, 1 of 5), incline: 10 x 135, decline: 10 x 165, military: 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 45, 10 x 40 standing (dumbbell), rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 single arm, 10 x 110 machine, plank, side plank, 6 x 30, 6 x 50 goblet squats, 10 x 210 leg press, knee stretches.

Weight: 188. (soup and rice last night)

Watch Sen. Klobuchar (who stayed a bit more political; focused on secure voting) and Sen. Harris question AG Barr:

Parking: I drove the red Prius and tried to find a remote spot to park. When I got back…

There is a reason this happens, but for now it escapes me and I cannot find the reference.

Biden surges to the lead but…

Yes, as expected, Biden got into the race and now has a nice plurality lead. If there was a clearly defined 2’nd place (and there really isn’t) I’d say it was Sanders or Warren.

My favorites: mired or sliding to irrelevance (I gave to Klobuchar but also like Harris and Booker)

But, well…deep down, I honestly think that Trump will win reelection, even though I find him unqualified, crude and embarrassing. One reason: well, IMHO, many who oppose Trump are also rather unpleasant.

Check this out:

Women are leaning in like mad, leading the resistance, voting in higher numbers and signing up to be candidates for office. But men have a responsibility — if they really do want a more gender-equitable world — to lean out, work actively to disavow their privilege and pitch in to get a woman elected president.

There are several highly qualified female candidates running for president. Every single man currently running or thinking of running should drop out and support one of these women. Now that would be real leadership.

And this is what counts for mainstream opinion on the left.